Friday, February 5, 2016

Experts compete to find Ukraine grid hack 'smoking gun'

Following article has been re-published with the permission of Energy Wire 
(original text available at

Experts compete to find Ukraine grid hack 'smoking gun'Blake Blake Sobczak, E&E reporter
Published: Monday, February 1, 2016

A six-hour blackout in western Ukraine has continued to puzzle investigators weeks after the lights came back on.

The Dec. 23 power outage in Ukraine's Ivano-Frankivsk region was minor by most standards, severing electricity to 80,000 households. Half a world away, windstorms were busy knocking out power to more than twice as many utility customers in northern Michigan.

But Ukraine's outage that day resulted from a complex attack combining malware, a flood of telephone calls and, perhaps, a few unwitting accomplices in grid control centers.

Ukrainian officials are dissecting the BlackEnergy strain of malware found to have infected energy, media and government organizations across the country. Authorities haven't yet offered a detailed account of Dec. 23's events, so security researchers have pieced together their own -- sometimes competing -- versions of what happened.